Lawyer of Greater Boston
Money laundering is the practice of making illegally obtained money appear as though it came from a legitimate source. Since by its nature money laundering concerns funds alleged to be obtained illegally, money laundering is typically charged with other serious crimes. In most cases, money laundering includes multiple financial transactions designed to conceal the original source of the funds. Following the money trail, therefore, is a central feature of many money laundering cases. While both state and federal law prohibit money laundering, the majority of money laundering cases are brought in federal court. Federal law treats money laundering very seriously, sometimes more seriously than the “specified unlawful activity” that allegedly produced the illegally sourced funds in the first place. If you are charged with a money laundering offense, you need an experienced and highly capable attorney to defend you and your reputation.
Boston money laundering attorney David J. Grimaldi provides expert representation to clients accused of money laundering. Attorney Grimaldi has negotiated the complete dismissal of federal money laundering conspiracy charges by proving that his client did not know, and could not have known, the original source of the funds. Attorney Grimaldi has masterfully cross-examined federal agents on the witness stand, inducing them to agree that the supposedly laundered money could not have come from the underlying crime alleged by prosecutors. Attorney Grimaldi’s success in money laundering cases has earned him the respect of the legal community and, most importantly, the great satisfaction of his clients.
Money laundering generally involves three steps. The first step, called “placement” (or “smurfing”) is when the illegally sourced money is deposited into the legitimate financial system. Simple deposits into ordinary bank accounts can qualify as placement. The second step, called “layering,” is when the money is transferred to other accounts through oftentimes complex financial transactions. Layering can include multiple banks or accounts, including international accounts, and the illegally sourced money is often mixed with legitimate money to disguise its origins. The third step, called “integration” is when the laundered money is reintroduced into everyday life and made available for ordinary use. Integrated funds can be used to purchase goods, buy real estate, invest in the stock market, or any other financial activity.
In conducting the financial transaction, the government must prove that the individual acted with one of the following four mental states: to promote the carrying on of a specified unlawful activity; to engage in tax evasion or tax fraud; to conceal or disguise the nature, location, source, ownership or control of the proceeds of a specified unlawful activity; or, to avoid a transaction reporting requirement under state or federal law.
Multiple defenses are available in money laundering cases. One defense is that the money was not obtained illegally. For example, if the government alleges that the client obtained the relevant funds through health care fraud, but the client’s attorney can demonstrate that there was no health care fraud, then the money laundering charge falls with the underlying charge. Another defense is to argue that the client did not know, and did not have reason to know, that the money was illegally obtained. This is a frequent defense in cases where the money was actually well-concealed and appeared legitimate. Another defense is that the money was never actually concealed. While the best defense will always depend on the particular facts of each case, in many cases the amount of allegedly ill-gotten funds will be at issue. In such scenarios, the client’s attorney should demonstrate that the actual figure is as small as possible, as the amount of funds at issue can have a great impact on the result of the case.
In federal court, money laundering is prosecuted under two statutes: 18 U.S.C. §§ 1956 and 1957. Section 1956 is used to charge most types of alleged money laundering and carries a maximum sentence of 20 years of imprisonment and a maximum fine of $500,000. Section 1957, which punishes the spending or depositing of criminal proceeds involving more than $10,000, carries a maximum sentence of 10 years of imprisonment and a maximum fine of the greater of $250,000 ($500,000 for an organization) or twice the amount involved in the transaction.
In Massachusetts, state prosecutors charge money laundering cases utilizing M.G.L. c. 267A § 2. The state statute carries a maximum sentence of up to 6 years in state prison and/or a fine of not more than $250,000 or twice the value of the property transacted, whichever is greater. If charged as a second offense, Massachusetts calls for a mandatory minimum sentence of 2 years in state prison, with a maximum sentence of 8 years in prison. A fine may also be imposed of no more than $500,000 or 3 times the value of the property transacted, whichever ever is greater.
Boston money laundering attorney David J. Grimaldi provides exceptional representation in money laundering cases. If you have been charged with money laundering, you need a lawyer with the experience and ability necessary to defend you successfully. Contact attorney David J. Grimaldi at (617) 661-1529 or online today.